Jackie Robinson’s Biography
(January 31, 1919 — October 24, 1972)
On April 15, 1947 Jackie Robinson made his major league debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first black player to play in the major leagues. Robinson did not have a hit in the game, but did reach base on an error and later scored the go ahead run. He batted second and played first base this opening day while 25,623 fans at Ebbets Field witnessed history as Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball. Jackie went on to win the Rookie of the Year Award that year and help the Dodgers make it to the World Series.
Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born on Friday, January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia. Jackie grew up in Pasadena, California as the youngest in a family of five children. Jackie Robinson attended college at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). Jackie was a star athlete, competing in baseball, football, basketball, and track. He was named to the All-American football.
Jackie left college in 1941 to play football for Los Angeles Bull Dogs. Later in 1941 he enlisted in the US Army (during World War II). Jackie Robinson rose to status of first lieutenant with the help and coaching of boxing champion Joe Louis.
In 1945 Jackie joined the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro American League. His athleticism, strong will and professionalism caught the eye of Brooklyn Dodgers president Branch Rickey. Rickey was looking for a black player to break the color barrier in baseball. He wanted to find a talented african american player that could handle extreme racial pressure, controversy and hatred from fans, media and other players. Some argue that Jackie Robinson was not the best player in the negro leagues, but Branch Rickey felt Jackie Robinson had the professionalism, patience, and talent he was looking for.
On October 23, 1945, Robinson officially signed his contract with the Dodgers. Jackie spent the 1946 season playing for a Canadian minor league team, the Montreal Royals.
In 1947 Jackie Robinson was in uniform for the Brooklyn Dodgers, playing 151 games at first base. He donned the number 42, which is now retired by all teams in Major League Baseball. Robinson endured a lot of tough times in the major leagues. He was not permitted to stay at the same hotel as the rest of the team.
Jackie played 10 seasons, all with the Dodgers, and retired in from baseball in 1956.
Jackie was elected to baseball’s hall of fame in 1962.
Jackie Robinson Fun Fact: Jackie starred as himself in a movie released in 1950 called “The Jackie Robinson Story.” The movie was one of the first movies in history to feature a black man as an American hero. There have been several movies and documentaries produced about Jackie Robinson over the years including the 2013 film “42” written and produced by Brian Helgeland. The role of Jackie Robinson is played by Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford plays the role of Branch Rickey.
Article by George Reitsma